BEIJING (Sputnik) – Laos' upcoming presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) could help Russia to enhance its trade and economic ties with Asia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Laos will take over the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016.
"Laos will chair the ASEAN and it is very important for Russia for restoring and expanding our ties with Asia. We have a high-level dialogue, which was given a momentum, and we should take advantage of it to expand trade and economic relations," Putin said at a meeting with his Lao counterpart Choummaly Sayasone.
ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization, which brings together ten countries in Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Taken together, ASEAN countries would rank as the world's seventh largest economy.
Since 1990, Russia has been developing closer ties with ASEAN member states, participating in the organization's summits.